A.G. Schneiderman Announces Agreement With Owners Of Stuyvesant Town & Peter Cooper Village
Attorney General’s Office Received Complaints That Leasing Agents Had Promised Tenants Stable Rents Before Owner Imposed Mid-Lease Increase
NEW YORK – New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today that the owners of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village have agreed to revoke mid-lease rent increases for tenants who were told by leasing agents that such increases would not occur. Tenants who have already filed to terminate their leases may withdraw the terminations and instead stay in their apartments without rent increases. Affected tenants must submit to the Office of the Attorney General an affidavit describing how and when they claim they were misled by a leasing agent. The owner’s agreement with the Attorney General also includes a ban on mid-lease increases for more than 2,000 other tenants whose leases allowed for such increases.
On May 14, nearly 1,000 Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper residents were informed that they would be subject to a mid-lease increase. While the owners included a rider in tenant leases permitting the increase, more than a dozen complaints from tenants – relayed by Councilman Dan Garodnick to the Attorney General's office – alleged that leasing agents had misrepresented the rider's meaning, verbally and by email, when encouraging tenants to sign leases.
In response to the complaints, the Attorney General opened an investigation into potential violations of New York State law barring deceptive business practices. The owners cooperated with the investigation and entered into an agreement to provide recourse for tenants who claimed they were deceived about the terms of their leases. Under the agreement, last Friday and Saturday the managing agent distributed a form affidavit to each tenant who is subject to a mid-lease rent increase. Tenants who claim they were misled must complete, notarize and submit affidavits to the Office of the Attorney General and the owners, postmarked no later than June 30. Rent increases will not be imposed on these tenants. For tenants who have already filed to terminate their leases, they may withdraw the terminations and remain in their apartments without rent increases following submission of affidavits. Finally, the owners may impose no additional mid-lease rent increases on existing leases; more than 2,000 tenants could potentially have been subject to such increases.
“Residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village have been through battle after battle to preserve the character and affordability of their community,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “That’s why I was so concerned to learn that some tenants had been misled by leasing agents into signing leases that would result in skyrocketing rents. I am pleased that the owners cooperated with our office's investigation and have entered into an agreement that ensures tenants are treated fairly: no one who was promised a steady rent will be socked with a mid-lease increase."
Attorney General Schneiderman added: "In addition, the settlement's prohibition on any additional mid-term rent increases ensures an end to this latest struggle to keep the neighborhood a haven for the middle class. My office will keep a close watch in the coming weeks to ensure that all aspects of the agreement are honored."
“I want to thank Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for stepping in to make sure that CW Capital will keep its word to residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village who relied on management’s representations that their rent would not be increased mid-lease, regardless of the language of the settlement,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. “For those residents, this is an important victory and I congratulate Attorney General Schneiderman for taking strong action to protect tenants who were reassured by false promises.”
"I commend Attorney General Schneiderman for his diligent efforts on behalf of tenants at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village," said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. "Many tenants relied on assurances from leasing agents that mid-lease increases would not take place and this agreement will make good on those promises. I encourage all ST/PCV tenants to look for forms from the managing agent under their doors and file their claims as soon as possible."
"I applaud Attorney General Schneiderman for his dogged fight on behalf of the many residents of ST-PCV facing mid-lease rent increases," said New York State Senator Brad Hoylman (D, WFP - Manhattan). "Such unpredictable rent increases upend the basic concept of tenancy and risk forcing people out of their homes. This settlement is a critical victory in the effort to ensure the long-term stability of a community that is so vital to our City."
"Attorney General Schneiderman did great work to intervene and prevent--or at least postpone--CW Capital's efforts to profit by misleading tenants,” said Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh. “This episode is another reminder of the need for stronger housing laws, regulating bait-and-switch rents and so many other ways that landlords routinely game the system at the expense of tenants and the stability of our communities."
"We appreciate the action Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took to protect the interests of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper residents," said Council Member Dan Garodnick. "The mid-lease rent increases by CWCapital are crass and unnecessary, but at least as a result of today's action, misrepresentations about rents by Leasing Agents in Stuyvesant Town will not be allowed to stand."
"We appreciate the Attorney General taking the important action that he did," said Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association President John Marsh. "The allegations of misrepresentations were serious and numerous. We hope those who received either written or verbal assurances that their rent would not be increased mid-lease will sign and return the document.”
The investigation and settlement agreement negotiations were handled by Karla G. Sanchez, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice; Marissa Piesman, Chief of the Real Estate Finance Bureau; Jeffrey Rendin, Chief of Enforcement, Real Estate Finance Bureau; Elissa Rossi, Assistant Attorney General, Real Estate Finance Bureau; and Micah Lasher, Chief of Staff to the Attorney General.